With every video, there are eyes behind the lens. Ours belong to Luca Repola. We talked to the young director, cinematographer and editor about his approach to filmmaking and the Fall 2013 behind-the-scenes video.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 17 year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York City. I produce fashion, music, and narrative films and have worked with some pretty cool people. I started making films since I was 12 and haven’t stopped since. I am currently working with Kimberly Ovitz to produce behind the scenes content for her site.
Have you always been interested in cinematography?
I have always wanted to direct. When I was younger (and working on smaller productions), I essentially had to get hands-on with the camera because I didn’t have anyone else to shoot for me. So I forced myself to learn the more technical aspects of filmmaking and it became one of my strong points as a filmmaker.
What was the first video you ever made?
I used to be in love with Wallace and Gromit, so when I got my hands on a camera, the first thing I made was a 15-second stop-motion video of moving play-doh. I was hooked after that.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from the Internet. I’m always looking at posts on Tumblr or short films on Vimeo. Music is a huge form of inspiration for me because of the emotions that you feel when you listen to it. I love all types of music, so I’m easily inspired.
You’ve worked on quite a few videos with Kimberly Ovitz; how do you approach each one?
Kim has a vision with each collection in terms of texture, color and overall design. The first thing I try to do is wrap my head around her inspiration for the collection and then I decide the best way to emulate that on screen. With behind-the-scenes videos it’s more difficult because you don’t get to craft what you see on screen as much; you need to go with the flow of what is happening, shoot it, and then allow your creativity to flow when editing. For Fall 2013, the theme was centered around natural defense, so my idea for the video was to showcase the fashion show through the eyes of an insect.
How do you use film as a medium to express your vision as an artist?
I think having the power to convey experiences through a visual medium is an incredible opportunity, especially in an evolving industry like film. I think it’s important to make sure that emotions are relatable on screen, no matter what type of film it is. If a viewer can emotionally connect with one of my pieces of work, I have done my job.
You’re still so young! Where do you hope your art takes you?
I hope to grow with the film industry. Especially now with so much competition because of the online video platform, the only way to stay on top is to create something innovative. I hope to collaborate with more artists like Kimberly. Working with her has been an incredible learning experience and I hope to keep pushing the bar with each video.
What else are you working on right now?
Along with putting out content for Kimberly Ovitz, I am also working on a film called, “Philippe”. It’s a short film about making friends and breaking language barriers through soccer. Super short and sweet, but I think a lot of people will be able to relate. You can read more about it here.
With an impressive portfolio of experimental film, music videos and cool collaborations under her belt, Ellen Frances has the makings of a major girl crush. We spoke to the artist, director and all-around genius about her cosmic inspiration and the concept behind our Spring 2013 Campaign video.
How did you get into directing?
I started out working within the realms of graphic design, everything from pattern making at major fashion labels to album covers for major record labels. I eventually landed in TV working for a music channel; it was there that I realized I could put my work into motion, which sparked my interest in motion in general. I started making experimental films by myself that were shown in small galleries in New York around 2007. People started approaching me to make things for them and the bigger the projects became, the larger the production scale.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m very inspired by the universe. I find a lot of inspiration in images or sounds of planets, stars etc. My imagination is also ignited by inventors, scientists, alchemists: Newton’s “Optiks”, William and John Herschal’s work in astronomy and theories on life in the universe, and Carl Jung’s studies in philosophy, spirituality and the occult are just a few examples. I’m also very inspired by movement. I was a dancer for the first half of my life and it’s ingrained in me. I always consider movement when visualizing ideas. Fashion is very important to me as well… working with designers and stylists is probably my favorite part of the production process.
What was your concept behind the Kimberly Ovitz Spring 2013 Campaign video?
The concept was about mood and motion. My background in film is experimental, so I would say a linear narrative is pretty rare to find in my work. I basically wanted to take how I felt at the S/S13 runway show— the mood and the imagery it brought to mind— and let that inspire the visuals in the video.
What does “ritual” mean to you?
Rituals are a physical performance of an intention using symbols or symbolic behaviors. It can literally be anything from a social function like a bow or handshake to human sacrifice. For me artistically, I think the “performance” aspects of many rituals throughout history provide a lot of inspiration. Mystery, symbols involving shapes and color, and beautiful garments— there’s a lot to draw from.
How did you make the Spring 2013 Collection come to life?
I worked with a DP to establish how the video would be shot based on my direction, as well as selecting technical equipment that would best capture the clothes. I also worked with a producer who helped cast the model and secure the location… we had a great makeup artist from MAC, a PA who ran gear back and forth etc. and Kim was there to give her input on set. There was a whole team of people involved.
The movement within the film is so beautiful and organic. Did you adapt any techniques from your dance and performance art background to achieve this fluidity?
The fluidity was actually both a technical choice and an aesthetic one. We worked with a camera that can capture a very high frame rate, which gave me a lot of flexibility in editing as far as the speed of the footage. I wanted some of the focus to be on the movement of the fabric, not only the model, which I thought was so beautiful at the runway show… being able to slow down the ripples in the fabric when it would blow made the image other-worldly while maintaining an aesthetic softness that spoke to the season’s pallet. In contrast, I could also speed up her movements significantly to allow some of the tighter garments to be represented with bold, defined movements.
You’ve worked on many different projects ranging from music videos to experimental film. How does fashion film specifically allow you to express your vision as an artist?
A DP jokingly said to me recently, “All of your videos are basically fashion videos.” In some ways that is true! Fashion and styling is so important to me that I always put specific shots in the shot list to capture detail on garments. Fashion films are of particular interest to me because they are very much a stylized, short, experimental film. A narrative is not necessary; the story comes out through the mood of the video and the construction of the clothes, which is actually quite amazing. For S/S13 I saw something very ethereal and poetic, yet mysterious.
What else are you working on right now?
Currently I’m in post-production on a new music video called “Virtigo” for CREEP featuring the singer from Lamb. (We used one of CREEP’s tracks for Kim’s S/S13 video). I’m in pre-production on an experimental film with author Tao Lin for The Huffington Post. I also recently shot a music video for Curses!, a side project from dj/producer Drop The Lime. It was highly stylized and featured these amazing Voguers from House of Labeija. Everyone was in Zana Bayne, Chromat, Asher Levine and Kimberly Ovitz, I was thrilled by what I was able to pull off! In terms of bigger projects, I’m in development on a feature film adaptation of the Penguin Books novel Light Boxes. I’m sort of a work-a-holic. I love to generate ideas. I love collaboration.